I am plane person and not a train person. The reasons I like travelling by plane are very obvious: time is saved; airports and planes are neat and clean; no hawking; and people keep to themselves and don’t bother each other. Apart from this, I have always been travelling on planes as my father worked with the national air carrier. I am in love with airports, especially the Delhi International Airport, that truly reflect the feeling of a traveler that I am. The influx of tourists, business fliers, home goers, and others from different parts of the country and world and from different walks of life, at the airport makes me realize how I am a small part of this ever changing world and how there are so many unknown things I have to yet to see and explore and understand beyond my never ending work hours and before my death. Additionally, I like to call myself a humble-luxurious traveler (for the lack of better word), not the backpack types who can adjust anywhere. And so I love travelling by planes. 🙂
But lately I have started moving for my photography – wildlife, landscape, street, people, (not necessarily in any order) and I travel by train mostly within the country (India). The government has, over the period of time, invested in the railways to revamp the trains and the platforms. Apart from being neat, clean, and tidy, the government has initiated in providing digital services. The state of washrooms still being in question with people (read passengers), God only knows why, not understanding and respecting the phrase ‘cleanliness outside their homes is equally important as inside their homes’. And I only travel, read insist heavily on my friend, AC class only and for shorter distances (read a maximum of 8 hours with a ‘night’ in between) only (note the two ‘only’). Recently, I have traveled in trains for 2.5 hours (one way) from Mumbai to Vapi and back. One of the train being a double decker train.
Keeping the cleanliness apart, I haven’t realized any sense of happiness or thrill while travelling in trains, at least in India. I haven’t traveled in those European or American trains to comment on them. One of them being, the kind of comfort I expect after paying so much. AC coaches are expensive and yet they make feel like I am travelling in Sleeper class. Others include as below:
- What about some leg space and some neat interiors? I spend time in the coaches and I want to be away from a lot issues I face at my place. I want to be feel wanted. I pay taxes.
- What is with the big windows that make me feel like close the curtains and not look outside? I know the outside view is not European countryside but still.
- What is that cold smell of AC just like i am in some old branch of a bank that has just installed AC but has forgot to keep the doors closed?
- What is with not modernizing the coaches at the earliest. Its been 10 years since I traveled again and I fail to make any visible ‘awe’ difference.
Although, I find fellow passengers sweet and helpful and staff in AC coaches courteous and helpful, I do not want to travel in trains in India. Maharaja is my only travel companion.